Activists buzz Vattenfall CEO with paint bombs

Several masked assailants threw paint grenades at Vattenfall CEO Lars G. Josefsson on Wednesday, interrupting a press conference during which he was set to present the state-owned power company’s interim results.

Activists buzz Vattenfall CEO with paint bombs

“It’s disheartening to realize that there are people who want to express themselves in that way. And it’s unacceptable,” said Josefsson to the TT news agency following the attack, sporting a shirt covered with green paint flecks.

Four people, two men and two women, were arrested on Wednesday afternoon in connection with the attack.

“They’ve been arrested for assault and vandalism. They’ll be interrogated later in the day,” said police spokesperson Bengt Hellström of Stockholm’s Södermalm police department, to TT.

The attackers are thought to have snuck into the conference facilities at Berns restaurant in Stockholm and hid behind chairs before the start of the scheduled press conference.

“I was scared. I didn’t know if they were armed,” said Vattenfall’s Nordic spokesperson Erik von Hofsten to TT.

Von Hofsten theorized that the attackers were passionate environmental activists.

“I have full respect for their engagement, but their methods are reprehensible,” he said.

Vattenfall reported a 12.6 percent rise in profits to 12.9 billion kronor ($1.585 billion) for the first quarter of 2009.

Turnover increased by 15.7 percent to 52.5 billion kronor, with positive currency effects of about 4.8 billion kronor contributing to the improved results.

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